I’ve had Hospitality’s newest effort, Trouble, knocking around in my head for the better part of a week until its recent displacement by that swirly Holy Wave album. It’s the Brooklyn band’s second full length, and while second albums require swift and immediate comparisons to any band’s first release, Trouble is good enough to stand on its own merits without being overshadowed by its predecessor.
It’s not that Trouble abandons Hospitality’s initial essence, but instead the band augments it. It’s like dating: how well can you really know someone after a handful of scattered dates? The other person is still putting on their best airs, as if they have no baggage or skeletons hanging around in the back of their closet. Maybe you’ve slept with them; maybe you’ve woken up in the same bed the next morning and done something cute like head down to the farmer’s market for coffee and croissants. Sure, it’s nice, and it might even be starting to feel comfortable, but let’s not claim that you have any more than a cursory knowledge.
Trouble is less concerned about letting you see its seedier side. You’re in it now; you’ve disseminated your respective lists of people you’ve slept with and met parents. You’ve had a good fight and debated with yourself if you can see yourself putting up with the habits that were previously deal breakers over the long term. It’s taking more work, but it’s a real relationship, and that’s undoubtedly better than constantly dating someone new, despite the new challenges it brings.
It’s a world-wearier version of Hospitality on display on Trouble. Gone is the optimism of life right after college, when you’re still on the parental income teat. In its place is the recognition that life can, and so often does, just fucking suck. And while that seems like a needlessly bleak observation on my part, do not let it diminish how good this album really is.
Where Hospitality reeled us all in with their two-minute, catchy focus on their debut, the band is content to drag things out on Trouble, meandering through guitar solos where songs would have ended on their first album. Trouble is every bit as engaging as Hospitality was, but for almost completely different reasons.